I really do play with more than string! I also play with fake plastic instruments. :)
Initial Rock Band 4 thoughts. (Of /course/ we unpacked it right away, in spite of making more mess to be tidied by dinner time today. Duh.)
NB: This is not a 'new to the game' perspective. We've been obsessing on RB since the first one, so the basics are well familiar.
Off the top, the one thing that we both loved that's such a stupid little thing.. if there's a significant pause for your instrument, you now get a count down on how many bars 'til you come back in. No more 'surprise! You just took a bite of cookie, but now you're singing!' Love. It. Love it.
Game play feels about the same. I don't play guitar/bass much at all (makes my arm hurt very quickly), and for the sake of everyone, I don't play drums. So I'm back to being vocals only. I miss the keyboard, but as I'm probably amongst about 50 people worldwide who actually loved that damn keytar, I get why they dropped it. When we get the adapter to use 360 instruments on the XBox One, then I can at least use the keyboard to play bass.
There's a bit more wiggle room in vocals in some songs (not all) with vocal freestyle, but it'll take me a while to get the knack of that. My scores were about on par with what I expected for being wildly out of practice, so the grading engine for vocals at least is about the same on Expert. The new microphone is perfectly adequate and doesn't suck like the old wireless ones did. (This one, also wired. I'm telling ya, wired is the way to go for microphones.)
The voting system for party mode (or just building a set list) is brilliant and I really like that. We sent The Sucktastics (currently drum and vocals) off on tour to get the story side of the game going, and there's a few more choices, but its basically the same as ever. Which is fine, same as ever was enjoyable enough. (We've a van! Which has already broken down. But we've a whole 300 fans already! And a stylist!)
It seems that in story mode, you make money to buy your stupid outfits (stupid outfits are de rigur in this game, it's not a band unless someone is dressed like an idiot, usually Penn's char), and that money is shared amongst the band. The decision to buy the drummer a gas mask, or the vocalist a plague mask could also benefit from a voting system. (Seriously? How do you sing from under that! Still, it looks cool.)
We're still missing a lot of songs that we had in the old game.. we had just over 800 songs in RB3 and we've about 300 in RB4 currently. More are slowly trickling in (we gained a lot of songs in the last week, for example), as they work out licensing agreements and porting them over from the 360 marketplace. It will be disappointing if that doesn't change, there's a bunch of old songs from RB 1, 2 and 3 that were favourites and I miss them.
We currently only have 3 instruments (drums with no cymbals, vocals and a single guitar), but that will change when the adapter gets here next week.
It does feel a bit rushed out the door (Songs still in progress, adapters not quite ready), but all of the RB games have been a bit thin on release day and really grow into their own as time progresses.
It is good. There will be more rocking out again, and my voice is about to get back into shape (for values of 'in shape' that are comparable to too much singing in the car). Rock on!